Surprise surprise, I was pumped up for yet another shiai. I had an especially good feeling about this one though considering the team we have. It was the best I've been a part of in a while, on paper at least
We journeyed to Reading from Waterloo station for the Sir Frank Bowden Taikai. It was a hot day and very dry. Summer time is upon us!
We checked our pools and found out we were up against Wakaba and Nenriki. Tough tough pool. Our B and C team were yet again, as with most tournaments we seem to participate, lumped into the same pool. So I suggested some tactical changes, by switching the members of team A and B. We did consider this a bit, or Neil and Joe pretended to do so, but in the end I got bollocked for suggesting the idea. This was fair enough, we're here to compete against good players, to test our kendo, not just to win. Besides if we can beat them now, the road ahead will be considerably easier.
In a very close contest, we won our pool.
Everything seemed to be going smoothly, then out of nowhere I felt ill ... heat-stroke of some sort and that practically ruined my day. I had difficulty breathing and every time there was a break I had to run out for some fresh air. I tried to man-up, go out there and do my best, but I only managed to draw or lose all my matches. I've let my team down, I've let myself down. This is a nightmare for anyone going into a shiai.
Despite all that, the team fought well, pulled me through, and we got our Bronze. The final could not be completed thanks to the horrendous running of the event. Most of the competitors, especially the ones who weren't planning to come for the Premier Cup the day after were fuming. The event was to run onto Sunday. Ironically when we got to the pub I was chirpy again, I suppose a beer can fix many qualms. I admit it probably wasn't the nicest sight for my team members, even though they didn't say anything. I think given the situation it would've been better if I was to keal over and collapse.
After a peaceful respite at Anthony's for the night, playing that Inglorious Basterds game, we headed back to the venue for the Premier Cup. I ploughed through the pools, only for a little bird (possibly a sore loser) to alarm the organisers that perhaps one of the female competitors with a Russian surname was not English. Now, we were told that the Premier Cup this year was to be an open event to all BKA members, regardless of their nationalities. Apparently not. The event was stopped, and everyone was gathered for all the foreigners (me included) to be rounded up and informed that we were no longer allowed to participate. The results are annulled and basically they had to start all over again. Oh I was not happy.
After many sarcastic racist jokes, I decided enough was enough and went home. Possibly one of the worst weekend of shiai in history. Many has vowed not to return to the competition again.